- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On January 10, 2017
- California, cannabis businesses, commercial medical cannabis, cultivation, dispensaries, licensing, MCRSA, medical cannabis, medical cannabis dispensary, ordinances, permit, Proposition 64, regulation, zoning
Months before the enactment of the Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act (“MCRSA”) last Fall, Santa Monica’s City Council approved a zoning ordinance which allows up to two (2) medical Cannabis dispensaries with onsite cultivation within the city’s limits. The ordinance, codified at Santa Monica Municipal Code section 9.31.185, “Medical Marijuana Dispensaries,” was adopted on June 23, 2015, and requires a medical Cannabis dispensary to obtain a Conditional Use Permit issued by the Planning Commission. Cannabis related businesses may not operate legally in Santa Monica without approval from both the Finance Department and the Planning & Community Development Department. Prior to the amendment in Santa Monica’s zoning laws, medical Cannabis dispensaries were prohibited within the city.
Per the current Code section, medical Cannabis dispensaries are permitted only in the Mixed-Use Boulevard (MUB) District along Wilshire Boulevard between Lincoln Boulevard and Centinela Avenue; the General Commercial (GC) District along Santa Monica Boulevard between Lincoln Boulevard and 20th Street; and the Mixed-Use Boulevard Low (MUBL) District along Santa Monica Boulevard between 23rd Street and Centinela Avenue.
Medical Cannabis retail outlets can be no larger than 2,500 square feet and are prohibited within 600 feet of a childcare and early education or family day care facility, park, school, library, social service center or other medical Cannabis dispensary. A maximum area of 15% of the total floor area may be used for on-site cultivation of medical Cannabis. Additionally, the new law permits delivery of medical Cannabis by dispensaries to qualified patients or primary caregivers.
However, despite the recent change in the city’s zoning laws, no medical Cannabis dispensary permits have been approved to-date. It is unlikely the reason for the delay is due to a lack of interest on the part of local Cannabis entrepreneurs; but is instead a result of Santa Monica’s desire to further define the parameters of its commercial Cannabis regulations given the rapidly evolving industry. Since the passage of MCRSA, comprised of AB 266, AB 243, and SB 643, coupled with the voter’s approval of Proposition 64, which legalized adult use of recreational Cannabis, local legislators have scrambled to determine whether to permit or partially ban Cannabis businesses within their borders.
According to a notice posted on the City of Santa Monica Finance Department’s website, the city will not be accepting applications for Cannabis businesses (medical or recreational) “until City Staff reviews necessary local regulations for marijuana uses with the City Council.” City Staff is anticipated to conduct its first study session with the City Council on February 28, 2017. The agenda for the February 28th meeting includes:
- Overview of the impacts of MCRSA and AUMA on local regulation and permitting
- Type of commercial Cannabis activities the Council may wish to consider allowing in Santa Monica and/or what limits it may wish to impose
- Whether to allow the sale of recreational Cannabis in Santa Monica
- Selection process and permitting options for Cannabis businesses
Currently, the City has not proposed a timeline regarding when applications for Cannabis businesses will be begin being accepted.
Contact CannaBusiness Law for expert assistance in compliance with Cannabis licensing, permitting and the application process relating to commercial Cannabis in California.